Friday, March 14, 2014

Book Review: Dead Girls Don't Lie by Jennifer Shaw Wolf (Whitney Finalist 2013)

Title: Dead Girls Don't Lie
Author: Jennifer Shaw Wolf
Enjoyment Rating: ***
Source: Library Copy
This book would be rated: PG-13 for intense situations, drugs and alcohol, violence

Rachel and Jaycee have been best friends since before kindergarten. When they're sixteen, Rachel abruptly pulls away, starts hanging out with different people, changes the way she looks, and within six months, she's dead. Jaycee, crushed by her friend's death and wracked with guilt by the way their relationship was unresolved, tries to figure out what really happened. All she has to go on to start with is a text message from Rachel, who tells her not to go to the police or her father and to trust no one but "E."

This is the only one of the YA books that one of my children actually read. My twelve-year-old daughter, Annie, is a Pretty Little Liars fan, and for some reason the book reminded her of PLL, so she asked me to renew it from the library so she could read it. When she was about a hundred pages into the book, she said, "Why is this book so racist?" The book takes place in a small town in Washington, where most of the long-term residents are white, and migrants from Mexico work on the farms. The teenage children of these migrants are generally portrayed as gang members (although [spoiler alert] so are some of the white kids). Regardless, I can see how a young person would feel that there's some racial stereotyping going on in the story.

Jaycee reminds me most of all of one of those dumb girls in a horror movie. She keeps getting herself in situations where I, as a reader, would go, "How can you be so stupid? Stay away. Run far away." But Annie seems to be enjoying the story so far, so I guess it's reaching its target audience.

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